Employee safety is the responsibility of the business owner. And if there is ever an accident, not only does it risk many lives, but the employer also has to bear all the cost. Sectors like manufacturing, leather, chemicals, construction, and engineering can be dangerous occupations.
However, employers are not the only ones that end up with all the liability. A major part of the responsibility ends up with the employees. No matter how many rules and SOPs are set, it won’t matter if they haven’t been implemented. In the end, the employees are responsible for acting on the safety best practices. So, training employees can be vital for a safer workplace. Here are some things that can help:
#1: Train Your Employees
The employees are the most important stakeholders in workplace safety. The whole system can only be as strong as the weakest link. Even if one employee missed a training session, they could cause a potentially devastating accident. If you want to know what event had an enormous effect on US workplace safety, you can read up on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. It is one of the deadliest workplace accidents and it was caused by an employee throwing a cigarette butt in a pile of scraps. Even though the building had design flaws, the accident happened because of a careless mistake. It could have been avoided if the employees were trained in workplace safety best practices.
#2: Be Proactive
No workplace is inherently safe. There are potential risks involved every step of the way. And the only way to avoid them is to be proactive in your approach. If you wait for an accident to happen before you fix it, then you are risking too much. If you can, bring experts to run all processes for you and predict any potential risks or occupational hazards. There should be precautionary measures in place even if there have been no incidents. Being prepared for the worst can help you mitigate human and financial losses.
#3: Maintain Correct Posture
Occupational hazards can be different depending upon what type of work you do. If you have a desk job, then you probably spend most of your time sitting in a chair. It is pertinent to take care of your posture because otherwise, it can cause muscle strains and other related problems. Correct posture can also help people who work in factories or warehouses. If your job involves heavy lifting, posture can be vital to avoid back and leg injuries.
#4: Take Breaks In Between Work
No matter what you do, taking breaks now and then is a good practice. It can help you stretch your legs and freshen your mind as well. The brain can slow down if you keep a monotonous routine. As a result, it can increase your chances of making a mistake. So, make sure you get up from your seat once every hour or so for five to ten minutes.
#5: Report Unsafe Conditions
Always reporting any unsafe practice or workplace condition to your employer or superior is conducive to a safer workplace environment. Many employees hesitate to report incidents to their managers for fear of backlash or potential repercussions. However, it is important to report such issues promptly so that the key players can put relevant and effective safety measures in place.
#6: Follow Proper Procedure
Following workplace safety and SOPs is vital to creating a safer workplace for all. If you opt for shortcuts then you are risking the safety of yourself and your coworkers. The procedures are set in place for a reason and the necessity may evade you at first. However, skipping them could result in injuries, and saving a few minutes of your time won’t be worth it.
#7: Keep Yourself Updated on Changing Conditions
The workplace environment, machinery, and protocols can change at any time due to various reasons. So, it is important to keep all your information up-to-date. Protocol revisions could be because of a reported flaw, an incident recording, or just precautionary. In either case, you should make sure that you are aware of any changes. It is the responsibility of the employer and your supervisor to provide relevant and proper training for any new equipment or SOP updates. However, it is on you to implement those changes in your routine.
#8: Help Train New Employees
It is the responsibility of the new employees to help new ones get their bearings quickly. You should put your front foot forward and help train them. All employees need to work together to help achieve a certain level of workplace safety and set standards. Safety brings value not only to your life but to others around you as well.
Little steps like the impact of a toxic work environment on productivity is the bigger picture. If employees understand their roles and responsibilities, manage their duties, and take initiative, workplaces can become much safer for all.